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Authors: Brian Thomsen

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BOOK: The Mage in the Iron Mask
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The master traveler’s head was still buzzing in confusion.

“But I thought,” he sputtered, “you wanted to talk about us, and …”

“… that I would intercede for you,” Chesslyn interjected, “and I did, but balance is more important than personal gain. Surely you agree, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, but …”

Chesslyn stopped for a moment as if a new thought had just occurred to her. Her expression softened. “That is what you were referring to,” she said softly, “about us?”

Volo leapt at the opportunity to save face.

“Of course,” he said in mock confidence, quickly averting his face so that she couldn’t look in his eyes. “Still, you have to admit that such a book would have great potential.”

“Enough potential to get you in even more trouble than you were over
Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical
,” she pointed out, “and I was instructed to point that out to you.”

“Point made,” Volo acknowledged, his voice showing the dejection he felt.

Chesslyn put her arm around the depressed author, and kissed him lightly on the cheek. “Don’t be so glum,” she said. “You can still do the book that you originally intended to, and you have to admit you enjoyed some good times while doing the research.”

Volo quickly regained his composure, and with a bit of false bravado, responded, “Agreed. Maybe not the best of times, but certainly not the worst of times.”

“Well, I had a good time,” the Harper admitted.

“And I did too,” the gazetteer assented, “and now it’s time to move on.”


The two shared a quick kiss in the privacy offered by the Necking Tree, and then returned to the hustle and bustle of the mob to rejoin Passepout.

As they walked back, Volo shared a few softly voiced thoughts with the Harper agent. “You know,” he pointed out, “there is no guarantee that Rassendyll will make a more peaceful High Blade. With all that
talk of returning Mulmaster to its former glory, who knows what can happen?”

“Agreed,” Chesslyn answered.

“And Fullstaff and McKern are both nice guys and all, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t exactly the type of guys who aren’t willing to have the end justify the means.”

“Why do you think I didn’t let them know of my Harper affiliation?” she pointed out. “Even though Honor was my nearest and dearest teacher and mentor, I only share that little secret tidbit with those nearest and closest to my heart.”

Volo brightened for a moment, and immediately hid his reaction, as there were some things the master traveler felt embarrassment about acknowledging.

As they approached the spot from whence they had come, Volo saw Passepout get slapped by a serving wench and saw a burly bouncer about to add his own two cents’ worth of contusions to the beleaguered thespian.

“Duty calls,” Volo replied, as he set off to help his friend.

“For both of us,” Chesslyn answered, squeezing the master traveler’s hand. “Farewell.”

“ ’Til we meet again, and may it be soon.”


With nary another kiss the two parted, and set off to right the matters at hand, Chesslyn back to the temple where she worked, and the master traveler to aid the about to be assaulted Passepout, his boon companion, and once again, friend in need.
formation for a takeover of the Heartlands.

Should the surface world not prove exciting enough for you, make your way beneath Mount Waterdeep to traverse the miles upon miles of tunnels and caverns known as Undermountain—but beware its deadly traps and skulking monsters. If you survive these hazards, press on to the subterranean city of Menzoberranzan, home of the deadly drow and birthplace of the renegade Drizzt Do’Urden.

When you return to the light of the surface world, you may want to explore the crumbling ruins of Myth Drannor, a storehouse of lost magic and deadly monsters in the heart of the vast Elven Court forest.

From the dangerous sewers and back alleys of sprawling cities, to glaciers, deserts, jungles, and uncharted seas (above and below the surface!), there’s a whole world to explore in the lands of the F

About the Author

Brian M. Thomsen is TSR’s Director of Books and Periodicals. As an editor, he has been nominated for both the prestigious Hugo and Tucker awards, served as judge for the World Fantasy Awards, and edited and acquired numerous award-nominated novels, including
by C. J. Cherryh (Hugo winner for Best Novel). He is also the author of over twenty short stories for various anthologies. His first novel,
Once Around the Realms
, was published in 1995.





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